Specialising my MBA in Strategic Leadership

07 May 2019

Executive MBA participant, Shaun Elliot, explains the reasons why he decided to specialise his MBA in Strategic Leadership and how it is already benefiting his career.

Why did I choose to Specialise in Strategic Leadership?

When I first had to decide to on what electives to take, I initially intended to choose those modules I thought were best suited to my current skill set to give me the best chance of achieving a good mark and not put myself through undue pressure. However, after talking to people on my cohort and listening to why they chose certain modules, I realised you only get this chance once and what I should be doing is focusing on areas that maybe don’t come as easy and need more development. I have always been interested in leadership, however until very recently had limited experience of this, therefore it was an area I wanted explore more closely through my MBA to give me the skills to progress in my career instead of taking the easy approach.

Impact on my Learning

I didn’t know what to expect from undertaking the specialism as I had already undertaken a core module in leadership, but the key thing I’ve taken away is subtlety of leadership and how aware you must be of everything you do when in this position. I have learned it is much more about how you act than the words you actually say, because you have to demonstrate an authentic approach to get the support of those following you. A lot of people may think to be a leader means you are a manager of people, but this is not the case. You may be leading a project with people from different business functions and in that situation they are looking to you for guidance. I have found this area of the learning much more practical and flexible, in that one approach or theory does not fit all and it is about tailoring a leadership approach that suits you, but also the situation to get the best results.

Career Plans

Since deciding to undertake the Strategic Leadership Specialism I have had the unique situation at work where I have been asked to create a new business division from scratch and lead it through a period of change. Without the learning I have gone through over the last 18 months, I believe I would have struggled at times to cope with the ambiguity of the situations I have found myself in. I truly hope this is the first of many leadership challenges I find myself in throughout my career as I hope to progress to become a CEO of a large global business one day (in the distant future) and the learning I undertake now will give me tools to progress towards this.

If anyone is unsure on what to take for their elective modules, they cannot go wrong in choosing Strategic Leadership as you will find whatever you intend to do in the rest of your career, this is an area everyone requires and even if you believe you do it well already, you should never stop learning to get better!

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